It's really difficult to say. That would depend on a number of different factors. You could set a date with zero wedding budget in the bank, if your wedding is say 12-24 months away. Also, that depends on what type of venue you pick. If you're renting a VFW hall, that might cost you $500 for the whole thing. But, if you go more formal, a hotel dining room or ballroom might cost you $500 for just the deposit. You are going to approach paying for those two events, much differently. In some cases, you might be able to pay a little here and there, out of your normal bank account/checking/savings and not have to have a specific, separate bank account devoted to wedding expenses. But, that depends on your income and such. I'd say, it's a good idea to have about 1/4 of your wedding budget set aside OR easily attainable. Most venues and vendors ask for about 1/4 of the total cost, as a initial deposit. The second payment is usually due anywhere between 6 months- 6 days before the wedding. Some vendors (like the photographer) will ask for the remaining balance AFTER the wedding and before they hand over any products/pictures, etc. I would divide my wedding budget like this. The first payments should be about 1/4 of your budget, this is devoted to deposits for the venue, photographer, videographer, florist, limo, etc. The 2nd payment (1/2 of the remaining balances), should be available during the middle of planning (if your engagment is 1 year, then 6 months). Then the last and remaining balances should be available within a month before the wedding. Any Example: Say your wedding costs $15,000 and you have a 1 year engagement. I would have about $3750 saved up before talking to any vendors. After paying vendors for the initial deposit/payment. That will leave you with a remaining balance of $11,250. Exact 1/2 of the remaining balance budget would be about $5,625 and that would be 6 months prior to you wedding. Last, you would have a remaining budget of $5,625 that you should have within the last 2-6 weeks to the wedding.